Table of ContentsDefinition / general
Cite this page: Tops TL. Summary & opinion, expert testimony. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/forensicsautopsyFAD.html. Accessed March 27th, 2023.
Definition / general
- In outline form, the FAD summarizes the pertinent autopsy findings, categories may include: Cause of Death / COD (natural or unnatural), natural diseases or pre-existing conditions, evidence of medical / surgical therapy, postmortem changes, identifying body marks, and toxicology
COD (natural or unnatural)
- Complications of hemorrhagic stroke, drowning, asphyxia by hanging, etc.
Natural diseases or pre-existing conditions
- State any additional microscopic diagnoses here
- Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, type II diabetes, etc.
Evidence of medical / surgical therapy
- Cardiac pacemaker, internal fixation of left tibia, CABG, etc.
- Decomposition, marbling, skin slippage, etc.
Identifying body marks
- Tattoos on the arms, forearms, right calf, etc.
- Can be broken down by volatiles (ethanol in blood and vitreous fluid) and drugs (medications or illicit drugs found in blood or urine)
- Probably the most important section of the autopsy report that will be read by lawyers, judges, law enforcement, insurance companies, lay public, and most importantly the decedent's family members
- A well written and thought out opinion may reduce the need for the pathologist to be summoned to testify in a courtroom
- An opinion section links the COD with MOD and describes all pertinent findings in paragraph form
- The opinion section needs to be precise, factual, logical
- Depending on the complexity of the case, an opinion section may be a few short sentences or several pages